[gameprogrammer] Designing a language

Hi People,

Being a bit of a lurker on this forum, I thought all the chat about
designing a language in the Daydreaming thread, would be a perfect
opportunity to talk about a project of mine.

I am big fan of functional languages. In my last game company, 3 Lives
Left, we used OCaml quite a bit. A problem was that there isn't that
many game development libraries out for OCaml out there, so we ended up
writing our own FFI layer for OGRE, SDL, etc. There exists automatic FFI
generators like SWIG, but it doesn't really pass advanced C++ code very
well (like that in OGRE) and the interfaces it generates seem quite
heavy.

The problem with the approach above is that it does not work very well
across platforms, especially when it comes to more embedded(like)
platforms such as the iPhone, PSP Go, XBox 360, etc.

Since then, having worked a bit with lisp, I have become a big fan of
"interactive programming". Nothing beats developing or debugging a
programming while it is actually running.

So the new idea is to build a small, and very tiny C++ game and
interpreter engine around a lisp interpreter. I am using the
boost::spirit libraries for parsing, and it seems to work quite well.
The basic idea is to have as much engine and game logic written in my
lisp variant.

Now, my fundamental problem is how to design a good interop (or ffi)
layer? Ie. how do I design an easily extensible system, where I don't
have to do a lot of C++ implementation everytime I want to introduce a
new C++ type that can be reached from lisp? Ie how do I in a good way
make it possible to create windows, build a physics system, instantiate
a renderer, detect mouse input, etc in a coherent and clean manner from
the lisp code?

I have worked with one such system before, where each C++ type
essentially agregated a scriptable type that acted as a bridge between
the two domains. Though clever in some ways, the bridge type had to be
extended with a new method whenever a new method was added to a
scriptable C++ type, and so forth.

Any good ideas, links, comments, etc?

Cheers,
Gorm


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